Illinoisans back gay marriage 50-29: Crain's/Ipsos poll

Crain's Chicago Business   ·   Link to Article

Most Illinois residents want the Legislature to legalize same-sex marriage in the state, according to the latest results of the Crain's/Ipsos Illinois Poll.

The survey of 600 adults found that 50 percent support the gay-marriage bill that cleared the state Senate last week and now awaits action in the House. That's considerably more than the 29 percent who oppose it, with 20 percent saying they don't know or have mixed feelings on the matter.

As expected, support is strongest in Chicago, with 56 percent backing passage. A majority of 52 percent of suburban residents supports approval, but support drops to a plurality of 48 percent downstate.

The online survey had an accuracy rate of plus or minus 4.7 percent statewide, with wider ranges for numbers specific to Chicago or its suburbs.

In a bit of a surprise, intensity of feeling is strongest among supporters of legalization.

Of the 50 percent who favor passage statewide, 37 percent do so “strongly” and 13 percent “somewhat” — an almost 3-1 margin. Among opponents, 19 percent “strongly oppose” passage, compared with 10 percent who “somewhat oppose” passage — about a 2-1 margin. The differing splits are within the survey's accuracy range but may indicate that lawmakers face as much or more political risk voting “no” as they do “yes.”

Respondents who oppose passage cited their religious beliefs as their main reason, with 51 percent indicating religion is a factor for them. A total of 48 percent said “non-religious reasons that marriage should be between a man and a woman” is a factor, with 42 percent indicating that the lawmakers should focus on “more critical issues” and 28 percent answering that civil unions should be sufficient for gay couples. The poll allowed opponents to name multiple reasons for objecting to gay marriage.

Those surveyed specifically were asked their view on a bill that “would officially legalize marriage between gay and lesbian couples in the state of Illinois but exempt religious institutions from being required to perform same-sex marriages.”

The marriage bill passed the Senate last week 34-21. The odds of passage are believed to be somewhat longer in the House, but sponsors say they are cautiously optimistic. A vote could occur this week or wait for later, depending on the measure's prospects.

Illinois would be the 10th state in the country and the second in the Midwest, after Iowa, to allow gay marriage. Gov. Pat Quinn has promised to sign the measure into law if it reaches his desk.

The Crain's/Ipsos Illinois Poll is a representative survey of voting-age Illinois residents conducted over the Internet. Ipsos validates the sample against offline data sources such as telephone surveys to ensure the accuracy of its weighting. The survey was conducted from Feb. 12 to 15.

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